Health Canada recently published a proposal to extend Canada's Lists of Permitted Food Additives to permit the use of tripotassium phosphate, potassium tripolyphosphate, sodium potassium tripolyphosphate and sodium potassium hexametaphospahte in certain standardized and unstandardized foods sold in Canada.

The proposal was published following receipt by Health Canada of five food additive submissions seeking approval for the use of tripotassium phosphate, potassium tripolyphosphate, sodium potassium tripolyphosphate and sodium potassium hexametaphosphate in foods where trisodium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate and sodium hexametaphosphate were already permitted.  Approval for these additives was requested at the same levels and conditions of use as already existed for the permitted sodium additives. 

Health Canada had completed a detailed safety assessment of the food additive submissions and no safety concerns were raised by the assessment.  Accordingly, Health Canada proposes to amend the List of Permitted Emulsifying, Gelling, Stabilizing or Thickening agents, the list of pH Adjusting Agents, Acid-Reacting Materials and Water Correcting Agents, the List of Permitted Sequestering Agents, the List of Permitted Starch-Modifying Agents as well as the List of Permitted Food Additives with Other Generally Accepted Uses to include the additives and to provide for the conditions and levels of use.

Health Canada's rationale for the proposal was that as the new additives could be used as replacements for sodium-based phosphates, there would be no change in the phosphate level in the food supply.  Health Canada did note, however, that it was possible that the use of the additives could result in an increase in potassium intake and a comparable reduction in sodium intake (both favourable outcomes).  Health Canada's proposal is also generally consistent with the use of these additives in the United States, the European Union and in New Zealand.